Flat Fee MLS Listings in Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana,
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How Buyers are Dealing with a Hot Market

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
May 22nd, 2018

I’m going to write specifically about a trend I have seen in the Las Vegas market over the last 30-45 days, however, the same could be applied in other markets. I’ll start with a specific example from this past weekend. An agent submitted 3 offers to our firm on 3 different Las Vegas properties. All 3 offers had the same buyer name. Coincidence or was something fishy? To be fair, we have a lot of properties in the Las Vegas area listed under our firm, thus, having an agent submit more than 1 offer on our listings in 1 weekend isn’t all that noteworthy. However, 3 offers with the same buyer set off a red flag. So what was going on? Simple, the buyer had submitted many offers over the weekend. The buyer was waiting to see what got accepted and what was rejected. Based upon the offers that were accepted, the buyer was then going to choose to purchase the 1 home they wanted the most out of the accepted group. So how is this possible or even legal? The due diligence time period on the GLVAR gives the buyer typically 10 days to cancel the deal at no penalty. Thus, the buyer could cancel any accepted offer as long as they did so in accordance with the due diligence time period.

So now that we know the buyer isn’t violating any real law by doing so… how do I avoid this if I am a seller? There is not a perfect system to avoid this. However, there are clues to look for. The #1 clue is if the buyer made an offer site unseen. This means the buyer wrote an offer and they have never seen the property themselves. Secondly, many of these buyer’s either have 1031 exchanges or substantial down payments. (or both) The best course of action is that if you suspect the buyer has multiple offers out, just ask the the buyer’s agent. 99 times out of a 100, they will tell you.

So what is the real risk in this if you are a seller? The problem I see is that this particular type of buyer is always looking for the best deal available up until the last second. Thus, even if the escrow is opened, the buyer will keep their eyes peeled for other properties. If they find something else they like, they will look for a way out of your deal.

Hot markets are wonderful for a seller. Don’t get me wrong. However, use common sense and keep a lookout for a deal that seems too good to be true. IE.. a full price offer from a buyer who neither the buyer or his/her agent has ever seen the property.


Public Remarks – What you can and can’t say

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
May 9th, 2018

Public remarks are a part of every MLS listing. We highly recommend taking the time to draft your public remarks in an attempt to put forth your best sales pitch for the property. The MLS has very specific rules regarding public remarks that pertain to all listings in the MLS. Thus, whether you are Remax, Congress Realty, Ebby, West USA, etc… we all have to play by the same rules when it comes to the MLS public remarks.

The first thing to keep in mind is that you want the remarks to be in paragraph format. You don’t want to use bullet points. In addition, each MLS has a very strict character count limit. This means that once you reach a certain point, the MLS will cut you off. This character count varies from MLS to MLS, thus, if you aren’t certain of the # of characters allowed, just ask us. The next thing to keep in mind is that the public remarks must only describe the property for sale. We can’t list information that doesn’t actually describe the property for sale. This means that we can’t put phone #’s, URL’s, email addresses, etc… into the public remarks. (No one can, it’s literally impossible) Lastly, keep in mind that Fair Housing laws need to be respected in your public remarks. Be careful of using words such as children, family, referencing places of worship, etc..

So where do I list my phone #? The MLS will have a very specific area for owner phone #. In addition, the agent remarks will also include the owner phone # and be visible to all agents.


Reminder to upload your photos BEFORE the MLS listing is posted

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
April 10th, 2018

We always recommend uploading your photos before sending back your MLS documents. How do you upload photos? 2 ways. You can email the photos to info@congressrealty.com or you can use our pre listing manager link:  https://www.congressrealty.com/FileManagement/PreListingControl/default.aspx

We highly recommend NOT waiting to upload your photos.

If you aren’t sure if we have your photos, call us or email us and we will be happy to confirm.


CA Updated Coverage Areas – 2018

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
March 2nd, 2018

We are excited to announce the following new coverage areas as of May 1st, 2018.

Victor Valley, CA

Lake Arrowhead, CA

Big Bear, CA.


Congress Realty forwarded me an email – What next?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
February 22nd, 2018

We get a lot of emails from agents, prospective buyers, title companies, lenders, you name it… The majority of these emails relate to a property that we have listed. When we receive an email on a given property, we automatically forward this email to the homeowner. When a seller receives the email, typically, they don’t want to reply to Congress Realty but instead they want to reply to the party that sent the original request. For example, let’s say a property is under contract and an escrow officer emails us to ask for the seller payoff information. We will fwd that email to the homeowner. The homeowner should then reach out directly to the escrow officer to provide them with the requested information.

So the next logical question is why are they emailing Congress Realty initially? The answer for this is that it really depends upon the situation and who is sending the request. If it’s a Realtor inquiring, typically it’s b/c they didn’t read the listing and simply emailed us before reading to contact the owner directly. That said, it’s not a big deal. We are happy to fwd these types of emails to the seller. With regards to title companies, typically, they do not have the seller contact information initially unless the seller has reached out to them directly. It all really just depends. The most important thing to realize is that if we fwd an email to you, you want to open it quickly and reply to the party who submitted the initial request.


Closing Cost in Idaho – What will I walk away with after everything?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
January 18th, 2018

Every situation is different. The amount of closing cost you pay can depend upon a number of factors. However, as a general baseline, I’d like to post a few exact figures from a recent closing in Idaho as a point of reference. These #’s come from a transaction where the seller found their own buyer and no buyer agent fee was paid at closing.

City – Boise

Year of Closing – 2018

Final Sold Price – $452,000

Sewer Fee Owed to Boise – $31

Prorated Real Estate Taxes Owed – $ 2,645

Title insurance / Owner’s Coverage – $1,703

Settlement Closing Fee – $350

Wire Fee – $40

Tracking Fee – $75

Total Fees minus Real Estate Taxes – $2,199


Exciting News on Sold Data – Congress Realty

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
January 12th, 2018

The final 2017 #’s are in from the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors. We are proud to announce that Congress Realty has finished in the top 25 of all Agents in Las Vegas for # of listings sold as a listing agent. What does this mean exactly? It means that out of over 10,000 Las Vegas Agents who listed properties in 2017, We finished near the very top when it  comes to sold production.

It’s important to consider the following:

These #’s include all Las Vegas Agents… including all Full Service Realtors.

These #’s are not based upon what was listed for sale. They are based upon what was listed for sale that actually SOLD!

No other discount real estate company finished in the top 100. When we say we sell more Real Estate than almost all other discount competitors… the #’s back it up.

Needless to say, we are super excited to place near the VERY top in another market we service.


New San Antonio Blue Tooth Lockboxes

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
November 17th, 2017

SABOR is going through their lockbox swap this month. (San Antonio Board of Realtors) We should have the new lockboxes in stock sometime in the next 3 weeks. These new boxes are manufactured by SUPRA and have a longer battery life than the previous boxes. (about 5-7 years worth of battery) The boxes will also have the double release shackle and allow access to any Realtor through the use of their Smart Phone. As before, they will also track who goes in the property, what time they went into the property, the phone # of the person who entered the property, and the name of their employing brokerage. The old boxes will no longer work as of early Spring 2018. (new boxes work immediately)



I’m in Arizona… I’ve accepted an offer… Now What?

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
November 1st, 2017

What happens next? I’ve signed my name on the dotted line…

The first thing that needs to happen is you want to ensure the escrow is opened within 1 business day. To open the escrow, any party to the transaction needs to get a fully signed contract to the escrow officer. You can walk it into their office or email the documents. In addition, the buyer must deposit the earnest money with the title/escrow company. This should happen within 24-48  hours of acceptance of the offer. As a seller, you can confirm the earnest money has been deposited through the earnest money receipt provided by the escrow officer.

Once the escrow is open and the EMD is deposited, you want to ensure you have the SPDS to the buyer or their agent no later than 5 days from acceptance. The term SPDS simply refers to the seller disclosures. As of this blog posting, you want to use the updated 2017 version. You can find these and download these at anytime through our private client area by clicking on State Files. Once you provide these to the buyer or their agent, they will review and they should initial and sign the SPDS AND return a copy to you. It is very important you have a signed copy from the buyer. The next step is the CLUE report. Essentially, this is a 5 year claims history on the property concerning insurance. It tells the buyer if the seller has made an insurance claim on the property over the specified time period. A CLUE report can be obtained online or you can contact your insurance provider and let them know what you need. Claim reports are almost always free from your insurance provider and you can get them within about 2 days of requesting. At this time, it’s also necessary to provide your buyer with any other agreed upon disclosures per the purchase contract that you signed. For example, this could include the LBP disclosure, mold disclosures, etc…

From that point, you are on your way to the inspection and BINSR period. We will update the blog to go over the BINSR in our next posting.

Ranking of the top 100 agents in all of Las Vegas Metro Area

J. Andrew English J. Andrew English
October 6th, 2017

GLVAR Ranking of the top 100 Agents

Attached is a list of the top 100 agents in the Las Vegas area according the GLVAR in 2017.  A few things to keep in mind:.

  1. These #’s are factual and can not be disputed.
  2. From what I can see, I am the only flat fee broker who made the list.
  3. There are about 15,000 to 20,000 total agents in the Las Vegas area that are eligible to make this list
  4. While we are pleased to be ranked in the top 40, we believe we will finish in the top 30 by the end of the year. (if you remove the teams, we would easily crack the top 20 of individual agents)
  5. This list has nothing to do with what a Realtor(R) simply listed for sale… It is solely determined by what that Realtor(R) actually SOLD.

Analysis… if a friend or neighbor in the Las Vegas area tries to tell you that you can’t sell your home through a Flat Fee Broker, we advise you to print off this list and hand it to them. Once again, the factual data shows that Flat Fee Listings are shown and sold just like 6% competing listings.